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Wed 22 September 2021

Zamaan Qureshi explores new revelations from the Mueller probe into the leaking of emails hacked by Russian intelligence services to Wikileaks during the 2016 US Presidential election

Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP, a close associate of former President Donald Trump and now the lead presenter for the new British TV channel GBNews is the subject of newly released documents from the Mueller probe.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and interviewed hundreds of witnesses to lift the veil behind a web of Trump campaign associates and employees who facilitated, aided, and welcomed foreign influence in the 2016 election. 

One of the leads Mueller investigated was the attempt to acquire and release the infamous “Hillary Clinton emails” (correspondence from an email address the former U.S. Secretary of State set up with on a private server) as well as the DNC emails hacked by Guccifer 2.0 – a Russian intelligence agency hacker – and subsequently passed on to Wikileaks.

The release of these emails was thought to benefit then-candidate Donald Trump politically. Though Clinton was cleared of wrongdoing by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2016, the Trump campaign sought access to these emails from Wikileaks.

On Monday, the FBI removed some redactions on over 400 pages of memos recounting interviews conducted by the Special Counsel’s office. It’s part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by Jason Leopold of Buzzfeed News and CNN against the FBI to remove redactions on both the Mueller report and its supporting documents.

Most of the redactions that were removed Monday related to Roger Stone, the Trump associate and political consultant, and his attempts to gain access to Clinton’s emails via Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. According to the revealed documents and the Mueller report, Stone believed Nigel Farage may have been able to connect him to Assange to acquire Clinton’s emails.


Mueller Report

Volume I, page 55 of “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” conducted by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III

Nigel Farage’s name appears only once in the Special Counsel’s final report into Russian interference published two years ago. On page 55, the report outlines how Jerome Corsi, an American author and conspiracy theorist and associate of Roger Stone, approached fellow American author Ted Malloch to interview Julian Assange about the leaks.

The original report only outlines how the Special Counsel’s Office understood Corsi believed Malloch had connections or relationships with people in the “orbit” of Nigel Farage, who may have been able to contact Julian Assange.

However, the newly removed redactions on the FD-302 memos (interviews conducted with witnesses), colloquially known as “302’s”,  to the Mueller report add another layer to what information the two were seeking. Jerome Corsi and Ted Malloch gave separate interviews to the FBI and Special Counsel’s Office and their understanding of events varied. 

FD-302 – Interview of Jerome Corsi (31/10/18)

Corsi gave multiple days worth of testimony to agents and lawyers from the FBI and Special Counsel’s Office. Beginning on 31 October 31 2018, at the Special Counsel’s Office in Washington D.C., Corsi gave a series of statements to investigators that he would later walk back. That day, he told investigators that he and Malloch had not discussed Farage in the context of Assange on a Facetime call and discussed only Farage in other Brexit related matters.

FD-302 – Interview of Jerome Corsi (01/11/2018)

However, the next day, Corsi confessed to “lying to himself” and “apologised” to investigators for doing so, as documented in his 302’s.

Corsi was presented with an email by FBI agents from Stone that Corsi was copied in on dated 25 July 2016, with the subject line “Get to Assange.” According to the documents, Corsi interpreted this to mean ‘get to Assange’ about the “Hillary Clinton or DNC emails.”

Corsi went on to amend his statements given the previous day and stated that he and Stone actually did believe Malloch could get to Farage and “other Brexit people” in an effort to reach Julian Assange, given the fact that Malloch was based in the UK and was a professor at Oxford University. Corsi also recalled that “Stone had said that Malloch knew Nigel Farage.”

FD-302 – Interview of Ted Malloch (08/06/2018)

Ted Malloch had a different understanding of events and claimed that he didn’t meet Farage or know anyone “in Farage’s circle” until 22 November 2016 – after the election. And while Malloch claimed Corsi never spoke to him about getting in contact with Assange through Farage, email documentation shows Stone believed Malloch had connections with Farage and people in his “orbit” as early as July 2016. Both Corsi and Malloch maintained an outreach was never made directly to Farage.


Farage and Assange

Nigel Farage outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after visiting Julian Assange (Photo:Buzzfeed News)

Corsi and Malloch were right about one thing, despite their contradictory statements to federal prosecutors: Farage can get you to Assange. As was reported by Guardian and Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, Farage has maintained close ties to Julian Assange. In March 2017, Farage was pictured visiting Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, who has been holed up there since 2012 until his recent arrest. Farage claimed he “didn’t remember” what was discussed in the meeting but within minutes following that meeting, Wikileaks published a new leak.

It’s unclear the extent to which that relationship has been maintained given Trump is now out of office and Assange was arrested and had his Ecuadorian citizenship revoked. Yet, Farage is a key connection between Stone, Corsi, Malloch, Trump and the former president’s Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon who both subscribe to similar populist and often racist theories for the way Britain and America should look

Farage’s name has been redacted from most 302’s mostly in connection to the now-pardoned Roger Stone. Speculations about the purpose of those redactions appear to fall under the category of protection of personal information or harm to ongoing criminal proceedings. Given that Stone is now pardoned, the information released about him will have no legal weight against him.

Assange, on the other hand, is a controversial figure. While some claim his work exposed government corruption and campaign mismanagement, others feel as though he improperly obtained documents that ended up swaying elections.

Zamaan Qureshi works for The Citizens and The Real Facebook Oversight Board

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